Republicans cruised to victory in US midterm elections, gaining control of both houses of Congress in a stinging setback for President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats and ensuring fractious co-existence in the last two years of his presidency.
The Republicans padded their control of the House of Representatives by at least 12 seats, and in the big prize of Tuesday’s midterm election they retook the Senate.
The Democratic implosion put the Republicans in position to shape if not dictate the congressional agenda, and their priorities are likely to focus on the economy.
Many pro-growth laws are ready for approval, such as authorization for the Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, boosting production of natural gas, helping small businesses and cutting back on government regulations.
The Republicans rode a wave of voter frustration with Washington incumbents and unpopular policies of the Obama administration to claim total congressional control for the first time since 2006.
The new legislature will take power in January.
The new Republican margin of control in the House with a cushion of at least 12 seats takes them close to achieving or surpassing their largest majority of the post-World War II era. They will go from having 45 to at least 52 seats in the 100-member Senate.
“This experiment in big government has lasted long enough. It’s time to go in a new direction,” Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican who defeated the toughest challenge to his Kentucky seat in 30 years, boomed to supporters in his victory speech.